Why we can’t get excited about the Tour
Doped-up cyclists are once again spoling the world's premier long-distance cycling race.
This year’s Tour de France is a dispiriting affair, said Paris’ Le Monde in an editorial. Many had hoped that the world’s premier long-distance cycling race would experience “a kind of renaissance” after the purging of last year’s doped-up cyclists. No such luck. The race had barely begun when Spaniard Manuel Beltran, a teammate of Lance Armstrong’s “during the glory days,” tested positive for EPO, a banned hormone. The optimistic among us shrugged that off, noting that Beltran was 37 years old, part of the older generation of athletes that grew up in an era when performance-enhancing drugs were ubiquitous. But then Italian rider Riccardo Ricco tested positive—and he hasn’t even turned 25. Fans of the sport can’t help but suspect that other riders are using, too, and just haven’t been caught yet. In a poll last year, 85 percent of respondents said they had no faith in the results of cycling races. “Unfortunately, the episodes this year give them no reason to reconsider.”